We’ve arrived at a most noble configuration in history; the long awaited dream of instant communication and the apprehension that at last mind and machine has melded. There was no doubt that humankind was doomed to discover a new brotherhood among mechanical parts and wires. It began as sturdily as the invention of the automobile. From the first moment a man sat behind the wheel of the horseless carriage and felt the extended power in front of his hands and feet, he knew his greatest desire was the complete synchrony between man and machine. This love affair with the car has never completely left him although he quickly extended his ability to become stronger, faster, and more acute in his discernment in the air, on and under the water, and in his communication devices. From radio signals to nuclear deployment, the artificial man stretched his muscles. And now; this brawny, spindling machine has a brain. It’s called the Internet.
For a free lance writer who had miraculously secured a job writing human interest stories for a weekly newspaper and spent the rest of his time in so much correspondence with the post office, there is now an indented pathway house to that tiny, brass-elaborated, key holder box, called the Impleton Trail, the Internet was nothing short of the saving grace. There was, at last, the prospect of searching for employment without the time/cost detrimental effect of wasted gas and postage stamps on rejected submissions. While I continued to languish in rejections, they were; objectively speaking; simultaneous ones. I no longer had to brave the fearful effort of opening my box in public each day, and the embarrassing replies, that I’d rather leave to the bedroom, “you’re not good enough”.
My wife developed a different philosophy around computers. If the profit margin from gainful computer employment was not enough to buy a vehicle new enough to pass IM inspection, it wasn’t work; it was an addiction. Wives notoriously worry about addictions. Apparently our only fondness should be the submission to their endless lists of opinions, all of which we must be in perfect agreement. I agreed, after numerous assaults of rationale upon my senses, that the profit making mechanisms were there, in that pioneer land of the Internet, and her expertise at buying and selling would far out-reach my feeble attempts at free-lance writing. There was only one thing we left out of our discussion; the wife was much better at buying than she was at selling. Soon we had acquired an accumulation of treasures that spilled out of the garage, into the yard, with more investments on the way. She gave up in defeat when she realized her addiction to e-bay had outstripped her impulses to run down to Fred Myers on their fifty percent off clearance days. She was addicted to shopping and there was nothing left to do except shell out the money for her to see a psychologist who would cure the problem.
During those hectic e-bay activities, our fourteen year old son, forever the opportunist and an avid student of computer activities a good two years before our own unfashionable household went on line, had in the meantime, taken advantage of our liberal e-bay account to acquire a Play Station III, and his own routed conspiracy of activities. He had a ready excuse for his gruesome battles with cyber companions. The military wanted young people to develop the agile co-ordination in button pushing required for game playing. This was, he explained, how all future warfare would be conducted, from the directional settings of a computer. After watching him play awhile, I grew a little uneasy. Not that his push button dexterity wasn’t impressive, but it occurred to me he took a great deal of pleasure massacring everything in sight, even those who were supposedly his allies. It seemed to me he would as effortlessly drop bombs on Little Rock, Arkansas as on Afghanistan. Did the military really want the technology of advanced weaponry in the hands of a group of kids whose greatest pleasure lies in running over innocent pedestrians in a game called Grand Theft Auto?
Through all these fiascos, the wife still hasn’t thought about the agonizing SEO friendly, sexual therapy articles I wrote to cover the expenses. Her opinion now is, if this is the reason I must spend so much time on the Internet, than I must be a workaholic. I’m stumped. I don’t know of one place a workaholic can go to confess he has been working too much. The psychologists would be faced with a whole new disorder. “How are you feeling today?”
“I am feeling the orgasmic pleasure of a facial remake with Botox. I am feeling the evening’s conditioning effects of Herbal Essence. I am feeling the let down of my energy drink. I am feeling the void.”
“You are putting a lot of feeling into your statement.”
“I’m feeling SEO friendly.”
Like all things that are heralded as the new wave of the future, the Internet has been met with trepidations and abuses. We’ve basically been dumped into the collective of other high wired organisms wiggling around for an electronic impulse to zap us to the next level of recorded accomplishments. While we chat and play, develop love affairs and look for bargain basement artifacts, we should remember that the Internet functions because some people are working. Whether it’s designing new software programs or the written advertisement for puffier lips, somebody has to put out the effort. The lucky ones get paid. The rest join the breadlines of the competition, because for better or worse, the Internet is with us to stay.